VOORHEES – Statistics can tell you a lot about a player, but they can’t measure certain intangibles, like how they make players better around them.
Take, for instance, Claude Giroux.
While he’s once again having a banner year with assists (36 going into Wednesday night’s game against Boston), perhaps his biggest contribution to James van Riemsdyk’s recent resurgence is giving that “project’’ personal attention.
In his three most recent games, JVR has produced seven points, including his fourth career hat trick in Monday night’s 7-4 win over Minnesota.
This van Riemsdyk rally coincides with coach Scott Gordon’s decision to move him onto the first line with Giroux.
The two seem to have found an instant connection.
“I think we have some good chemistry, we can read off each other pretty well,’’ van Riemsdyk said after Wednesday’s morning workout at the Skate Zone. “We have a little bit of that familiarity.
“It doesn’t hurt when you’re trying to find your way with different things.’’
It’s all about trust, knowing a linemate’s tendencies and a sense of where he’s going to be at any particular time.
“It’s that predictability of what they’re going to do,’’ van Riemsdyk said. “If you know what they’re looking for, see the spots they’re going to. When you have that with someone, it goes a long way.’’
Like Nolan Patrick, who was getting more scoring chances prior to his career-record four-point game the other night, JVR said it’s just a matter of continuing to play the right way and eventually the results will come.
“There were a lot of things I thought I was doing the right way,’’ he said. “I’m just trying to stick with the process of it. It’s certainly nice to get a bounce. . .then you start feeling better about yourself and then you get that confidence.
“So you try to have a consistently good approach and then eventually the tides will turn.’’
Getting Giroux and JVR together could turn out to be a good long-term move.
“The best part of it is we had a conversation and ‘G’ said ‘I’ll get him (JVR) going.’ He (Giroux) has had a big part of that (resurgence),’’ Gordon said.
“To be able to provide JVR with the passing, the hockey intelligence to put him in good situations to be successful, is a positive.’’
Weise clears waivers
Dale Weise, who was put on waivers Tuesday, was not picked up by any NHL team. So the Flyers have the option of keeping him here or sending him down to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
Gordon indicated there were no immediate plans to call up a forward from the Phantoms, so the Flyers appeared to be heading into the Boston game with the minimum 12 forwards.
“Right now we have 12 forwards,’’ said Gordon, “so we’re good.’’
Gordon said he had not spoken to general manager Chuck Fletcher about the team’s plans moving forward. The Flyers play in Montreal on Saturday night and it would be wise to carry at least one extra forward in case of a sudden illness or injury in practice.
Couturier vs. Bergeron
The Wednesday night game with Boston featured two of the game’s best two-way players: The Flyers’ Sean Couturier vs. the Bruins’ Patrice Bergeron. These two finished 2-3 in last year’s Frank Selke Trophy voting behind Los Angeles Kings star Anze Kopitar.
“Both play a 200-foot game,’’ said Gordon. “They have offensive abilities, great on faceoffs, character people. Having coached both of them (Gordon coached Bergeron at Providence in the AHL), you understand why both are in consideration for the Selke Award.’’
Anthony Stolarz is getting close to returning from injury and both Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth could be back by next month.
So where does that leave rookie goaltender Carter Hart?
The Flyers have to decide whether they should send him back to the Phantoms or keep him here, possibly as a backup.
“I think as long as he’s playing well, handling the pressure of being in the NHL. . .I don’t know what the plan is beyond two weeks from now,’’ Gordon said. “As of right now, he’s playing well, doing his job.
“The benefits of him going down, maybe there’s a little more pressure being in an environment where you make a push for the playoffs. That has benefits. If the time comes where we’re not in that mode here, it’s certainly something where you want to give him the opportunity to be part of as a pro.’’